Flyers

Downside of deadline day hits now-former Flyer

Downside of deadline day hits now-former Flyer

MONTREAL — Mark Alt was taking shots on the Bell Centre ice in Montreal Monday morning while preparing for the host Canadiens when assistant coach Gord Murphy came over and told Alt there was no need to take shots anymore.

That's because Alt is not a member of the Flyers anymore.

The Colorado Avalanche claimed Alt Monday afternoon, a day after the Flyers placed the 26-year-old defenseman on waivers in hopes of making him eligible for both the AHL postseason and the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“That was kinda weird,” Alt said after hearing the news he's heading out west. “He usually wouldn’t say something like that, so as I skated off, I figured something had happened.

“Very surprised, actually. These things happen and I’m excited for the opportunity. There’s mixed emotions — good and bad. It’s good to have somebody and to be wanted, and at the same time, it’s tough to leave the team. It kinda goes both ways there.”

Alt had been utilized as the Flyers' seventh defenseman. He played in just eight games this season and only nine total as a member of the Flyers. Alt, a second-round pick of Carolina in 2010, was acquired by the Flyers in a trade with the Hurricanes on Jan. 13, 2013 along with goaltender Brian Boucher for Luke Pither.

Alt has yet to record a point in his NHL career.

Deadline Dale
Dale Weise may experience some déjà vu today. 

It was exactly two years ago today when Weise was in Montreal and was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Flyers forward was enjoying a breakout season, scoring 14 goals prior to the deadline deal.

“I think it was no secret I wanted to stay in Montreal,” Weise said. “Two days before I got traded, I thought we had a deal done. We didn’t hear back and then I got a call from (Montreal GM) Mark Bergevin that I got traded. It was difficult.”

In 2014, Weise was dealt to the Canadiens from Vancouver and he’s hoping this two-year trend comes to an end.  

“I think everybody’s watching it,” Weise said of the deadline. “It’s the most exciting time of the year. This is a business and crazy things happen.”  

Ghost giving back
Eleven days after 17 students and faculty members were shot and killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the school's boys hockey team won the Florida state championship.

Flyers defenseman and Douglas High School alumnus Shayne Gostisbehere was thrilled the team rallied together to win a championship and dedicated their state title to the victims of the shooting.

“It’s awesome with obviously everything they’ve gone through to come out on top,” Gostisbehere said. 

Gostisbehere attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school from 2007-09, but never played for the Eagles hockey team. However, Gostisbehere will host members of the state champion hockey squad at the BB&T Center in Sunrise when the Flyers take on the Florida Panthers on Sunday, March 4.

“I know I’ve got some things lined up for the Florida game, so it should be fun.”

"Ghost" is the only alumnus from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to play in the NHL.

This time, Flyers didn't crumble in face of adversity and that says a lot

This time, Flyers didn't crumble in face of adversity and that says a lot

Three weeks ago, this would not have happened. In fact, we have hard evidence to back this up. The Flyers were gut-punched by the Islanders on Oct. 27 at the Wells Fargo Center and laid down. The end result was a barbarous 6-1 defeat that created social media angst among fans.

On Saturday afternoon, the Flyers’ will was tested again. But this time, the outcome showed us just how far they’ve come since that depressing October Saturday three weeks ago. If there’s such a thing as a character loss, the Flyers’ 6-5 overtime defeat to the Lightning is the face of it (see observations).

This had the making of a story we’ve written before, one in which the Flyers face adversity on home ice and crumble. The Flyers were behind 5-1 in the third period after Tampa capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play for two goals in 51 seconds. Three weeks ago, that’s game, set, match.

Instead, the Flyers rung off four goals in 6:04 to force OT. It’s the ninth time in league history that a team erased a four-goal deficit in a game’s final 10 minutes.

“We showed some good character,” James van Riemsdyk said. “Any time you can get a point when you’re down four goals in the third period, I’d say that’s a pretty good thing. … 

“You want to have good responses. We had some pretty good process-related stuff as far as carrying the play, but we’re paid here and we’re here to get results, so it’s not good enough.”

van Riemsdyk, in his second game back from a knee injury, was a major part of the Flyers’ comeback. He snapped the team’s 0-for-15 power-play drought in the second period with his first goal of the season and had assists on the goal that began the comeback and completed it.

There is a lot to unpack after Saturday. The loss capped off a five-game homestand that began promising but ended leaving much more to be desired — 2-2-1. The Flyers have now lost three straight, tying their season-high losing streak that came after the Islanders loss on Oct. 27. The penalty kill had another merciless effort, allowing three more power-play goals. The Flyers have now allowed an NHL-worst 22 power-play goals and the PK ranks 30th at 68.6 percent.

Claude Giroux became just the fourth player in franchise history to reach 700 points with a two-assist game, which put his total up to 701 (see story). He also moved into a tie with Brian Propp for second all-time in team history with 480 helpers. The Flyers dominated just about every play-driving metric and outshot the Lightning, 45-26. Their power play awoke with three goals.

“It’s hard. We want to take a lot of positives out of that,” said Travis Konecny, who had his fourth career two-goal game. “It shows what we have in the locker room. It’s just tough to look at it that way. (Head coach Dave Hakstol) comes in between the second and third and says we’re actually playing a good game, it’s just we got to get our bounces and stick together.”

Stuck together they did, and if we want to take anything away from Saturday’s OTL, it’s that. That didn’t happen three weeks ago.

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Lightning 6, Flyers 5 (OT): Furious comeback ends in heartbreak

Lightning 6, Flyers 5 (OT): Furious comeback ends in heartbreak

BOX SCORE

What began as a promising five-game homestand ended in heartbreak Saturday afternoon.

The Flyers (9-9-2) dropped their season-high third straight game with a 6-5 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Wells Fargo Center to finish the homestand 2-2-1.

Anthony Cirelli scored the game-winner at 1:41 in overtime.

Tampa temporarily moves atop the NHL standings. The Eastern Conference-leading Bolts are 14-5-1 with 29 points. The Predators (27 points) host the Kings tonight.

• The big difference between this Flyers team and the one that left Philly on Oct. 27 after a 6-1 clunker to the Islanders is its fight. Tampa went up 5-1 and things were getting ugly. But the Flyers fought back with four straight goals and forced overtime. The Flyers rung off four goals on eight shots in a span of 6:04. Travis Konecny had two and both Sean Couturier and Wayne Simmonds had one.

They lost and it was an unsuccessful homestand, but they didn't lay down like they did three weeks ago. This was really an effort in which you're happy with a point.

• This is a story about an unstoppable force meeting a very movable object, and well, you know the result. It was not pretty.

The Flyers' 30th-ranked penalty kill surrendered three power-play goals. The Flyers now have allowed an NHL-worst 22 power-play goals. They have allowed three power-play goals two times and multiple power-play goals five times. They have gone just five games without allowing a PPG. The Flyers played with the NHL's fifth-best power play and were electrocuted. Tampa was 3 for 4 on the power play.

You cannot win in the NHL with a penalty kill this ineffective.

• Finally, the Flyers' power play struck twine Saturday. In fact, it recorded a hat trick. James van Riemsdyk ended an 0-for-15 drought in the second period and Konecny and Couturier added two in the third period.

The Flyers' PP is now 6 for its last 48 opportunities since Oct. 13 and has just six goals at home. Really, special teams have been the Flyers' biggest wart, and it hurt them again Saturday. As bad as the PK has been, the PP has been equally feeble.

But Saturday's development was a huge positive.

• Claude Giroux, after two pointless games, picked up an assist on JVR's PPG for his 700th career point as a Flyer (see story).

With another helper in the third period, Giroux became tied with Brian Propp for second on the franchise's all-time assists list (480) and is 149 points from passing Propp for third on the team's all-time scoring list.

Giroux now has 24 points in 20 games this season and is on pace for 98.4 points. He is an all-time Flyer and somehow, he's still underappreciated by a good portion of the fan base.

• Calvin Pickard's stat line Saturday doesn't read well: six goals on 26 shots. But it's hard to fault him. He wasn't bad. Tampa's second goal was a bit leaky but its others don't fall on Pickard. With Brian Elliott out two weeks, the Flyers will need Pickard to raise his level of play. He mostly did that Saturday.

• The Flyers came out ready to play with a strong first period, outshooting the Lightning, 18-7, and had 21 shot attempts at 5-on-5. The biggest takeaway was how the Flyers were attacking Tampa. The forwards went to high-danger areas and the defense had just six shot attempts at 5-on-5. That's usually a successful formula for scoring, but goalie Louis Domingue was the Lightning's best player despite some shaky moments.

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